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8 Ways to Keep the Holidays Stress-free for Your Cat

Comfort Zone Advisory Panel Cat Behaviorist, Mieshelle Nagelschneider

With thoughtful preparation, your home can be a happy place for your feline during the holidays.

  1. Create a cat-proof home and holiday tree
    From the holiday tree to presents and festive decorations, cats being the curious creatures they are, can find a multitude of ways to create chaos and accidents during the holidays. Let’s start with the holiday tree. One of the easiest solutions to prevent glass breakage or the tree from tipping over, is to use unbreakable ornaments and to hang more enticing ornaments out of your cat’s reach higher up on the tree. Many cat owners also secure the tree to the wall. Avoid decorating with tinsel and ribbon. Cords can be covered with cardboard tubes to prevent unwanted chewing.

    Don’t forget to cover your tree’s water with a tree skirt or tinfoil to prevent your cat from drinking it. Even if you’re not using a chemical additive in the water, the debris from the tree entering the water can make your cat sick. Also, be sure to keep pine needles (fake or real) away from your cat. These not only can be toxic, but they can also cause blockages that could require surgery. The same goes for holiday plants that are poisonous or toxic to cats (poinsettias, holly and mistletoe, just to name a few) that need to be kept away from your cat or completely off your shopping list. Because there are no guarantees when it comes to all the creative ways cats can get themselves into trouble, the best choice is to not leave them alone with holiday decorations.

  2. Relaxing Guest Introductions:
    When having guests in your home for festivities, always let your cat decide whether he would like to interact with them. If a guest approaches or tries to pet your cat, this can cause him to feel threatened and fearful. Let your cat set the pace for guest interaction. In other words, let it be on your cat’s terms.

  3. Use Comfort Zone® pheromones to help your cat stay calm
    Feline pheromones are scientifically proven tested and effective to reduce stress in cats and help them feel safe and calm. Managing your cat’s worry or stress during all the new changes in the home during the holidays is much easier when you’re utilizing calming pheromones. Instead of feeling worried about guests coming through the front door or an evergreen tree suddenly appearing in the living room, your cat can have a sense of safety and calmness. With Comfort Zone® Calming Pheromone diffusers, cats can enjoy the holidays and the interesting activities that have temporarily become part of their lives.

  4. Create a safe space to get away from it all
    To keep stress levels down, create a place for your cat where he will feel comfortable and protected while watching all the new activity in the home. This could be a cat tree, a cat bed under a table, or a pop-up cat tent to create a sense of safety while still being able to view the world. A better idea for some cats may be keeping them confined in one area (like a bedroom) containing all their necessary items (food, water, litter boxes, toys, and a resting area) when the holiday excitement might be a little too much.

  5. Promote confidence building activities
    One of the best ways to help cats feel more confident and less stressed during the holidays, is to play with them using a wanded toy that you maneuver. When a cat is hunting, or in this case, preying on his toys, he is at his most confident and fear-free. A toy that is moving can be much more enticing for a cat to stalk and chase than a stuffed mouse toy “asleep” on the floor.

  6. Provide mental de-stressing activities
    Incorporating a food puzzle into your cat’s dry food or treat regime will provide him with the very much needed mentally challenging activity that so many housecats are lacking. Cats have natural instincts to work for their food. Offering this outlet in your cat’s environment can be a very effective way to de-stress him during the holidays. During the rest of the year, food puzzles can also help support both ongoing physical health and emotional health.

  7. A little extra attention can go a long way
    Grooming, petting, or just spending some extra time with your cat, even if only a few minutes between wrapping presents, can help improve your cat’s confidence and lower stress. As long as your cat enjoys the activity, it can help your cat not only feel less stressed, but more closely bonded with you.

  8. Predictably is important
    Cats become used to routines, and if something in their predictable schedule changes, it can cause undue stress. This can be especially true for cats that are fed at certain times of the day. If you’re going to be out late holiday shopping and unable to feed your cat its usual evening meal on time, enlist the help of a timed-feeder to dispense the food at the time your cat normally expects it. Timed feeders are available for both dry and canned food.

When the festivities are over, and the guests have said their last goodbyes, don’t forget to pet your cat and enjoy a few magical holiday moments together.

Comfort Zone is a registered trademark of Farnam Companies, Inc.

Category: Cats & The Holidays | Comfort Zone